How can you hope to control your own destiny in the face of an unprecedented range of business and technology demands?

When you first acceded to the top IT job in your organisation you may well have expected increased autonomy. After all, you now manage all the IT staff. You tell them what to do. Surely you will have more time to communicate your vision, plan, and exercise governance?

If that was your expectation you were probably sorely disappointed. When you picked up the role of technology “supremo” you also acquired a much longer, more wide ranging list of responsibilities, which often threaten to stretch you to breaking point. Far from having more time to reflect, you find you have much less time, and that you’re constantly reacting to the next problem thrown your way. Faced with this steady stream of challenges, you probably feel out of control. It often seems that the wider organisation dictates your schedule, demanding ever more from your department. If you tolerate that situation you embark upon a downward spiral, which will please some of the people some of the time, but won’t ultimately result in a compelling record of achievement.

So you must flip the situation—setting your own agenda and making that spiral lead upwards instead.

But where do you begin?

We’ve given this subject considerable thought, inspired by our own observations of CIO behaviour. We suggest the following steps:

  • Recognise the essential objective
  • Accept the need for six modes
  • Learn how and when to switch between modes
  • Acknowledge your preferences
  • Hire to complement your preferences
  • Identify suitable satellite roles